Sheltered housing schemes in Cottenham, Ely, Fordham, Haddenham, Littleport, Soham, Somersham, Sutton, Waterbeach, Wilburton and Witchford - all will lose their mobile library service

Cambridgeshire County Counci to axe its mobile library service

Cambridgeshire County Counci to axe its mobile library service - Credit: Archant

More than 20 sheltered housing schemes in East Cambridgeshire – including those in Ely, Littleport, Soham, Haddenham, Witchford, Fordham and Stretham – will lose their mobile library.

The mobile library service is run by Cambridgeshire County Council but is being axed.

Sheltered housing schemes that include lose the library service include:

•Cottenham (4)

•Ely (3)

•Fordham (1)

•Haddenham (2)

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•Littleport (2)

•Soham (3)

•Somersham (1)

•Sutton (1)

•Waterbeach (4)

•Wilburton (1)

•Witchford (1)

The council says that to “mitigate the impact of this service cut” it is planned to withdraw the service over a two year period.

It will give those communities “most in need of the service time to make alternative arrangements”.

The council says it will “also allow time for discussions to take place around alternative models, such as micro-library provision with small communities and box collections for residential homes”.

The council says all residential and sheltered homes will have their mobile library service withdrawn “and there will not be a replacement”.

Main stream libraries will also be hit – the county has 32 libraries, 25 designated community libraries, six ‘hub’ libraries and Cambridgeshire Central Library. There are also ten community run libraries that were set up 12 years ago following previous funding reductions.

“In order to meet challenging savings targets it is proposed that opening hours at larger libraries to be reduced by up to10 hours per week,” says the report.

Funding will be withdrawn from a number of community libraries cross the county. The council may move libraries to community buildings with volunteers recruited to run them.

The report believes that the changes will still maintain the council’s statutory duties to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library services.

“It is required to keep adequate stocks of books, information, pictures, music, films etc. and to encourage adults and children to make full use of the service,” says the report.

“The key priority for the service is to undertake a comprehensive review in order to define a new strategy for the future delivery of the service which meets statutory requirements and community needs whilst making significant savings – in the region of £1million over the next two years.”

It is expected that three fifths of the savings will be achieved in the next financial year.

Jobs are likely to go within the library service including those ‘community engagement staff’ that organise events within local libraries.

The report says: “These teams support and encourage the army of volunteers (more than 600) that provide computer buddy sessions, listen to children reading during the Summer Reading Challenge or deliver books and digital audio to people in their homes.

“These proposals would result in a reduction in the number of professional staff in the team, with a resulting reduction in the activities above and their contribution to the council’s priority outcomes for Cambridgeshire people.”